It’s still pretty chilly out. To warm up, both body and mind, I like to indulge in a savory soup. Something mild and comforting, though. I want the heat to be from the temperature, not the ingredients. The flavors should be layered but not overwhelming. One of my favorites is a soup I’ve been making for many years now.
As easy as soup sounds, a truly flavorful and fulfilling bowl is not so easy to master. Do I boil the bones from the base stock or do I buy stock at the market? Do I cook the vegetables ahead, and do I cut them small or large? What about the meat, if there is any included? Pasta or rice?
The above questions are a matter of taste, but they can also affect the overall outcome of the product. Texture and flavor must cooperate. But, don’t fear. You can learn to make a kick ass soup.
The things I learned about making soup over the years:
- Cook the noodles/rice before adding them. Also, rinse them to get rid of any excess starch.
- If the soup is going to be blended, chopping the vegetables into manageable pieces (as in will cook evenly and in equal times) is all you need to do. If this is going to be a chunky soup, then you need to decide if you want something more rustic (large and jagged cuts), traditional (small, usually square, chopped), or something in between (which is what I like). Whatever you choose, keep it consistent across the vegetables, or you’ll end up with some over-cooked and others under-cooked, and that is a huge mess.
- Buying stock instead of boiling bones is a great time saver. You may need to try a few before settling. I like Kitchen Basics brand, the Country Home is bland—and so on. If you are making stock, you’ll need to do so ahead of time, and you’ll be boiling the picked over carcass of whatever base you’re starting with (pea soup uses pork bones, for instance) and they should still have some meat and fat attached. You can actually buy soup bones from your butcher in the market. Also: Do not add salt. Save the addition of the spices like salt, pepper, and garlic for when you are putting your soup together. Tip: you can’t take salt back out of a recipe. Take it easy. Let your guests or family uses shakers to add salt, if they want to.
- Take your time. Expect to simmer your soup for a few hours (making stock would be in addition to this). Letting it rest overnight in the refrigerator is a great idea!
- Add pasta/rice at the very end. You can even put the soup in one container and keep the pasta on the side. If you boil the pasta/rice with a healthy portion of salt, it will marry into the dish with zero indication that it wasn’t there all along. Pasta/Rice has a nasty habit of soaking up all the liquid. Be sure it is boiled to the perfect point of consistency, as well as the excess starch rinsed off. I always add the pasta/rice last.
Cooking Turkey Soup is both easy and difficult. By that, I mean if you aren’t using good ingredients, and ignore the salt rule, you can end up with a mess. Be sure the stock you use has flavor!
Let’s get started.
What you will need: turkey stock (low or regular sodium depending on your needs), mix of dark and light turkey meat (fat and skin removed, slightly under-cooked, cut into bite size chunks), celery, onion, garlic, carrots, pastini (or rings or spirals or whatever you prefer, but pastini is truly excellent), a large stock pot, salt, pepper, and parsley, a small amount of olive oil.
2 Boxes of Turkey Stock
3 Cups of (light and dark) Turkey Meat
3 Large Carrots
4 Celery Stalks
1/2 of a Medium Onion
4-5 Garlic Cloves
1-1/2 Cups Pastini (before boiling)
3 TBSP Dried Parsley
Salt and Pepper To Taste
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1. Boil pasta as directed on it’s package. Drain in colander and set aside.
2. Cut turkey meat into bite size pieces. Use both light and dark, being sure to remove all skin and fat. DO NOT use deli turkey. The best preparation of the meat is to leave it slightly under-cooked. This will help prevent it from drying out in the soup during the cooking process. Set the meat aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. Was your vegetables. Peel and chop the garlic and onion. Place in the large stock pot on low with a couple tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cook until softened and the onions are translucent.
4. Cut the carrots into thin discs. Cut the leaves off the Celery as well as the root base and discard. (some leaves are okay, as they’ll blend in with parsley, but they can be very bitter and ruin the flavor). Cut the celery stalks into 1/8″ pieces.
5. Pour two boxes of turkey stock into the pot. Add celery and carrots, as well as Parsley. Simmer for at least one hour, adding the turkey meat for the last 20 minutes. Stir periodically.
6. When five minutes are left on the time, add the cooked pasta, and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Store overnight in the refrigerator for best flavor (reheat just before serving).
Suggestion: Serve with warm, buttered ciabatta rolls.
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